This post is not intended to tackle the issue of racism in America, but rather to clarify the terminology around the issue in an effort to make sure conversations can take place on an equal footing. The two most commonly used adjectives are “systemic” and “systematic”, and aside from both being adjectives, the only other thing they share is the root word, “system”.
A definition of systematic is a plan of attack, or a method used to achieve an end, while the word systemic describes a combination of things working as a system. Until recently, the word systemic has been widely used to describe situations that exist within the human body, e.g. something being systemically toxic to the immune system. When in doubt, simply replace synonyms for the words to see if the sentence conveys the intended purpose. For example, use the word methodical to replace the word systematic, and use the word extensive to replace systemic.
Now, let’s discuss racism in America, and if it exists, is it Systemic or Systematic?